Rating: 2/5 – We Don’t Need Another Hero(ine).
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
I reviewed the first issue of Sally of the Wasteland as a 3.5/5, comparing the titular character to a certain DC anti-heroine whose name rhymes with Harley Quinn. It was a good start but I was curious how it wrapped things up, now that the series was complete and collected. Sadly, I think I might have been better off letting that first issue paint my own ideas about a band of ne’er-do-wells trying to make their way through a post-apocalyptic Louisiana, because the actual story fails to deliver on a number of levels.
First off, the promising cast of characters quickly become one-trick ponies or wind up dead just when you start getting to know them. This is, of course, part of any apocalyptic quest story – Who will be the last person(s) standing? – but an important part of that storytelling idea is to make us care that they survive or feel bad (or cheer) when they die. The action comes fast and furious at the expense of any real character development, so when people do buy it, your general reaction is to simply turn the page and wait for the next victim. Even Sally herself is given to two speeds – crazy psycho warrior or overprotective wannabe girlfriend – and little else. They should have just painted the white, red and black makeup on her and pitched the idea to DC. They already had a start with the pigtails.
Then there’s the story itself. I won’t deny the action is well done, and I loved the cannibal mutants, who share some of the funniest moments and best dialogue in the book (which is kind of praising and condemning in itself), but right when things get completely crazy, the book pulls out a final chapter like someone came up to them and said “Wind this up” when they had about three or four more good issues to go. It came off as tacked on, rushed, and not particularly well planned. Even the ending left me thinking “So?” and glad to be closing the book, likely never to be opened again.
There’s still amazing artwork from Tazio Bettin, something I’ve said time and again I’ve come to expect from anything that comes out of the Titan stable. The characters are certainly drawn in iconic and memorable ways…it’s just unfortunate they weren’t written that way. Bettin does a good job of painting a war-torn Louisiana and his creature designs are particularly well-done. Hopefully we’ll see more from him in the future.
I’ll often buy first issues of new series – whether they’re from the Big Two or smaller independent companies – to find out if I want to check them out when they show up in trade format. It’s a good system, as often you can tell from that first book whether or not a book will be worth waiting for or not. Unfortunately, every now and then a book will start out of the gate with an incredible story that captures your imagination, only to peter out and fail to even finish in the money by the time the story is through. Sally of the Wasteland was that kind of book: A solid beginning, with a lot of potential, but not enough going for it to stick the landing.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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